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Hetzer123

Does the market outside Japan affect Japanase developers on how they design their games?

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I aware about Japanese developer design their game specifically for Japanese market  but not other countries (i.e. Belarusian, Bulgarian, Polish or Finnish) dev exclusively for their local market. I can't remember the name of the article which criticize a developer for trying woo western audience by making VN more like a point-click adventure game.

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It is relatively rare for Japanese VN companies to pander to Western audiences.  I say 'relatively' because Pulltop has made a nice side business out of doing just that in the last four years or so, and Front Wing has been actively dual-releasing their games here in the form of the Grisaia Phantom Trigger series.

However, it pays to keep in mind that these cases are exceptions to the rule, rather than the standard.  To be blunt, for every company that is happy to have its games' localized, there are three that are either wary or outright terrified of the idea of exposing their material to Western audiences through legitimate means.  There are a number of reasons for this, but in a lot of cases it has something to do with the sexual content. 

For better or worse, most non-nukige Japanese VNs are based in a school setting, and this means that a lot of the content involved is questionable by western standards. 

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1 minute ago, Clephas said:

 

However, it pays to keep in mind that these cases are exceptions to the rule, rather than the standard.  To be blunt, for every company that is happy to have its games' localized, there are three that are either wary or outright terrified of the idea of exposing their material to Western audiences through legitimate means.  There are a number of reasons for this, but in a lot of cases it has something to do with the sexual content. 

For better or worse, most non-nukige Japanese VNs are based in a school setting, and this means that a lot of the content involved is questionable by western standards. 

Oh, so it's unlikely to have Japanese developer to create an all-age non-school setting VNs. It's not like they can have "There are no censorship if there nothing to censor"*rollsafe* mindset.

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Just now, Hetzer123 said:

Oh, so it's unlikely to have Japanese developer to create an all-age non-school setting VNs. It's not like they can have "There are no censorship if there nothing to censor"*rollsafe* mindset.

All-ages VNs in Japan are primarily limited to otomege and the occasional console port.  Exceptions are games like Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate, where the games were primarily designed for console as nearly non-gendered plotge (most VNs are male-oriented, with otomege being oriented to brainwashed females and yurige/BL primarily being marketed to males and females respectively, due to the weird fascination the opposite sex seems to have in Japan with the same-sex relations of the other sex, lol) are very small in number and have big budgets behind them.  The financial risk of producing male-oriented non-ero VNs in Japan can be seen in the extremely slow release rate of Key's games since Little Busters, despite the company's long-lived popularity on both sides of the ocean (most VN companies produce something at least once every year and a half to two years, even if it is a short game or a fandisc), as well as Type-Moon's shift in focus from VNs to the console and mobile gaming market (not to mention anime, manga, and other media) after the release of Mahoyo. 

Also, there is a certain type of company that simply is suspicious of Westerners in general (Akabei Soft has become infamous for its suspicion of localization companies over the years and has gone to extreme lengths to IP block foreigners from even looking at their sites, though they are still allowing Hello, Lady to be localized). 

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Well Sony entertainment in America is currently effecting titles on the PS4 in Japan by censoring them. This has also affected the Senran Kagura series to the point where it seems they will go away from having lots of nudety and basically abandon the main strenght of their games.

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4 hours ago, Clephas said:

It is relatively rare for Japanese VN companies to pander to Western audiences.  I say 'relatively' because Pulltop has made a nice side business out of doing just that in the last four years or so, and Front Wing has been actively dual-releasing their games here in the form of the Grisaia Phantom Trigger series.

However, it pays to keep in mind that these cases are exceptions to the rule, rather than the standard.  To be blunt, for every company that is happy to have its games' localized, there are three that are either wary or outright terrified of the idea of exposing their material to Western audiences through legitimate means.  There are a number of reasons for this, but in a lot of cases it has something to do with the sexual content. 

For better or worse, most non-nukige Japanese VNs are based in a school setting, and this means that a lot of the content involved is questionable by western standards. 

Them being afraid is generally understandable. One thing i've always wondered though, does the original Japanese text in the regular visial novel say "High school" or "Academy" like the english versions usually have. I guess academy makes it ambiguous how old the characters are whereas high school and middle school makes it clear cut.

Edited by Stormwolf

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Even though sales of VNs in Japan are collapsing, and have been for years, they're still far greater than Western sales.  Remember Koihime struggling to sell two thousand copies?  How MangaGamer estimated that it wouldn't sell that many, so they couldn't afford the voices?  And then on top of that, the western market simply will not pay the ludicrous overcharging that is standard in Japan.

I very much doubt the US market affects their decisions.  It simply isn't worth it.

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2 hours ago, Nandemonai said:

Even though sales of VNs in Japan are collapsing, and have been for years, they're still far greater than Western sales.  Remember Koihime struggling to sell two thousand copies?  How MangaGamer estimated that it wouldn't sell that many, so they couldn't afford the voices?  And then on top of that, the western market simply will not pay the ludicrous overcharging that is standard in Japan.

I very much doubt the US market affects their decisions.  It simply isn't worth it.

Outside Japan market is picking up steam as each year pass by. At some point VN developers & publishers will be forced to release more VNs outside Japan. If new versions of Koihime were released now, I am sure they would sell well if not great 

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6 hours ago, Stormwolf said:

Them being afraid is generally understandable. One thing i've always wondered though, does the original Japanese text in the regular visial novel say "High school" or "Academy" like the english versions usually have. I guess academy makes it ambiguous how old the characters are whereas high school and middle school makes it clear cut.

Almost always 'gakuen' (academy) rather than 'koukou' (high school). 

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12 minutes ago, Clephas said:

Almost always 'gakuen' (academy) rather than 'koukou' (high school). 

From a country which sells hard core child porn vn's, i do find that quite a bit puzzling. Unless there is some cultural thing which i dont know of. Doubt it though since its always high school in anime and such.

Edited by Stormwolf

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I actually have some firsthand knowledge about this!

It 100% depends on the company. Some actually try to structure their games towards a western audience (and are beginning to make changes to all future games to do this, including making them all-ages or story-based), while others still see the west as an after-thought.

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1 minute ago, Xeviax said:

I actually have some firsthand knowledge about this!

It 100% depends on the company. Some actually try to structure their games towards a western audience (and are beginning to make changes to all future games to do this, including making them all-ages or story-based), while others still see the west as an after-thought.

Kind of a shame though. I don't condone those hardcore childporn vn types i mentioned, but i don't like the dishonest style its going for now. 14 year old being played off as 18+. Its quite ridiculous tbh. I hope they stop adjusting to the west so the vn's appear more genuine and honest about what they are. If it says 18+ characters then i want characters aged 18 and above. Just my opinion though.

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6 hours ago, Antera said:

Outside Japan market is picking up steam as each year pass by. At some point VN developers & publishers will be forced to release more VNs outside Japan. If new versions of Koihime were released now, I am sure they would sell well if not great 

No, it probably wouldn't. It would sell a lot better than it did back in 2011, that's for sure.  (Heck, I believe Nutaku and Fakku report it as selling very well for them.)  But the game sold so poorly that it could do several times what it sold before and still not even get close to what it probably sold in 2007 in Japan.  In 2007 the market was a lot bigger and it was the #3 game in the sales rankings that year.

There are a few VNs that have sold well: https://old.reddit.com/r/visualnovels/comments/8wpse6/with_the_recent_leak_of_steam_sales_figures_heres/

But the vast majority sell a few thousand units.  Only a very few very successful titles have sold more.  By and large, people don't buy VNs, they steal them.

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8 hours ago, Stormwolf said:

From a country which sells hard core child porn vn's, i do find that quite a bit puzzling. Unless there is some cultural thing which i dont know of. Doubt it though since its always high school in anime and such.

First, keep in mind that sales of underage (which was under sixteen for females until a recent change in the law) hardcore (actual sex acts) porn has been illegal over there for decades.  The issue was the loophole in the law that a lot of people exploited (again, until a more recent law banned it) involving pornography not involving sexual acts. 

Also, VN girls aren't people under the law, much less victims, so the law doesn't consider it a crime unless the fact they are underage is confirmed specifically in the text (something that just doesn't happen anymore).  The key point is pornography laws and ordinances in Japan require the existence of a victim (the person whose pictures are being taken) and Vn girls don't fall under that, at present. 

That said, the main reason the industry has traditionally (at least for the last sixteen years) mostly done its best to say they aren't under eighteen even though they are has to do with the Japanese concept of 'face'... as long as they put up some kind of facade, the authorities are less likely to smash them out of irritation.  This is also why I get pissed off whenever a dumbass localization company localizes a lolige...  foreign pressure is one of the few things that gets the authorities over there to make serious noises about regulating the eroge industry.  I don't want to lose my precious plotge just because the company that made it happened to be a subsidiary of one of the companies producing those toxic lolige and charage...

Edit: Incidentally, we are getting off-topic, so let's drop this issue for now.  I can just see the next few posts completely derailing the topic in my head...

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I heard some people complaining about VNs lack interactivity as if they are not the targeted demography.  If developers add more gameplay to VNs, do they have larger appeal for foreign audience?

On 2/9/2019 at 6:43 AM, Xeviax said:

I actually have some firsthand knowledge about this!

It 100% depends on the company. Some actually try to structure their games towards a western audience (and are beginning to make changes to all future games to do this, including making them all-ages or story-based), while others still see the west as an after-thought.

This could include technical issue such as making the English U.I. display correctly or adding achievement.

Edited by Hetzer123

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I would be interested to learn how much of an imprint popular genre-shifts in media have/had on visual novels in particular.

What I mean is stuff like the Skyrim craze, which actively contributed everything western-fantasy-like in Japan to sell better (Fire Emblem sales) and even got them to make their own skyrim games, like Dragons Dogma. 

Those things in the context of VNs would interest me.

Edited by TexasDice

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On 2/10/2019 at 1:00 AM, Hetzer123 said:

I heard about some people complaining about VNs lack interactivity as if they are not the targeted demography.  If developers add more gameplay to VNs, do they have larger appeal for foreign audience?

I'd say, it will probably make the barrier of entry for regular gamers a bit lower, but people who don't like to read will still complain that they have too much text. To appeal to such people they will have to add so much gameplay that it will stop being a VN.

Edited by Dreamysyu

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On 2/11/2019 at 3:10 AM, Dreamysyu said:

 To appeal to such people they will have to add so much text that it will stop being a VN.

I was referring to Danganronpa series, rpgmaker games and other borderline VNs.

They seem to be wary of long, expensive VNs or those with convoluted plot. In general, it's less risky to release slice of life 10$ VNs or split long VN into episodic release. I am concern about how episodic release will handle different route. It looks like more developers are using Kickstarter or other crowdfunding site for development of the VN, not just localization or physical product.

On the other hand, VN doesn't seem has large appeal to comic and novel readers despite less interactivity than other games. I only see few of them talk about VNs.

 

Edited by Hetzer123

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1 hour ago, Hetzer123 said:

I was referring to Danganronpa series and other borderline VNs.

On the other hand, VN doesn't seem has large appeal to comic and novel readers despite less interactivity than other games.

By the way, I wanted to say "so much gameplay". I make very weird mistakes sometimes. :notlikemiya:

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On 2/9/2019 at 11:26 AM, Nandemonai said:

No, it probably wouldn't. It would sell a lot better than it did back in 2011, that's for sure.  (Heck, I believe Nutaku and Fakku report it as selling very well for them.)  But the game sold so poorly that it could do several times what it sold before and still not even get close to what it probably sold in 2007 in Japan.  In 2007 the market was a lot bigger and it was the #3 game in the sales rankings that year.

There are a few VNs that have sold well: https://old.reddit.com/r/visualnovels/comments/8wpse6/with_the_recent_leak_of_steam_sales_figures_heres/

But the vast majority sell a few thousand units.  Only a very few very successful titles have sold more.  By and large, people don't buy VNs, they steal them.

Note that it doesn't include VNs without achievement or people funding it outside Steam such as Kickstarter reaching many stretch goal but low Steam sales.

On 2/8/2019 at 7:55 PM, Clephas said:

  The financial risk of producing male-oriented non-ero VNs in Japan can be seen in the extremely slow release rate of Key's games since Little Busters, despite the company's long-lived popularity on both sides of the ocean (most VN companies produce something at least once every year and a half to two years, even if it is a short game or a fandisc), as well as Type-Moon's shift in focus from VNs to the console and mobile gaming market (not to mention anime, manga, and other media) after the release of Mahoyo.

I wonder if the price affect your decision in purchasing VNs.

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